News archive

News archive - July-2019

Presidential advisory panel's report on land reform: why context is important

On Sunday, the Presidency released the final report of the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture. The release of this report was highly anticipated and therefore attracted a flurry of media coverage. At this juncture it is worth taking stock of the process and considering the effect which the recommendations may have on land reform policy. Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence

30.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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What’s needed for SA agriculture to boost jobs?

The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey data (Q2: 2019) show that South Africa’s primary agricultural employment fell by 0.2% from the corresponding period last year to 842 000. The subsectors that faced a notable reduction were mainly field crops, the game industry and forestry. In the case of field crops, the reduction in employment was unsurprising following a reduction in activity in the fields on the back of a poor harvest in the 2018/19 season, all of which is underpinned by unfavourable weather conditions earlier in the season. From a regional perspective, a notable decline in employment was recorded in the Northern Cape, Free State and Limpopo, whilst other provinces saw a marginal uptick. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist.

30.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz responds to the release of the Presidential Land Reform and Agriculture Advisory Panel Report

“The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) has noted the release of the report by the Presidential Land Reform and Agriculture Advisory Panel for public comment today. Agbiz will study the report and its recommendations in detail and respond according to its mandated policy positions on land reform and agriculture,” Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, said today. - Agbiz media statement

28.07.2019 / Media Releases

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BUSA and the CCMA launch online platform to assist small businesses with labour law advice

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), of which Agbiz is a member, recently launched an innovative, web-based resource on labour matters in conjunction with the CCMA. The web tool is designed to assist small businesses who do not have the resources required to hire in-house legal council or HR managers with key aspects relating to labour law. 

19.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Is the National Ports Amendment Bill the solution to inefficiencies?

The draft National Ports Amendment Bill, published for comment last week Friday, seeks to give effect to the 'user-pays' principle by allowing the National Ports Authority to raise revenue through levies. The pros and cons of this approach should be carefully considered when public submission on the Bill are made. It is no secret that key agricultural commodities such as citrus, deciduous fruit, wool and others are banking on demand from overseas markets to maintain growth. South Africa's climatic conditions and sophisticated production methods position us well to produce these popular commodities, but any export-led growth strategy relies on an efficient port system to facilitate trade. Sadly, disruptions and an aging infrastructure have hampered this strategy of late. - Theo Boshoff, head of Agbiz Legal Intelligence

19.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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South Africa cannot afford to ignore economic benefits of cannabis legalisation

Cannabis has now been decriminalised in over 50 countries in the world, with others joining the bandwagon.
Canada has been one of the leading countries in developing the sector, with stocks such as Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, and Aphria attracting attention. Many Canadian entrepreneurs and investors have been streaming into Lesotho and some are waiting for the floodgates of this new wealth to open across the continent. Green Fund estimates that the global cannabis market is worth $150bn and the forecast by Barclays places the value of the sector at $272bn by 2028.  Please click here to listen to a 702 radio interview with Wandile Sihlobo on this topic. - Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo and Prof. Mzukisi Qobo, associate professor at Wits Business School *Written for and first published in Business Day.

19.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Minister Thoko Didiza tables budget vote in Parliament

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Reform, Thoko Didiza, together with the deputy ministers, Mcebisi Skwatsha and Sdumo Dlamini, tabled the department's programmes implementation plans for the 2019/20 financial year during the budget vote speech on 16 July 2019. 

16.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Biosecurity is key for export-led growth

Disease management remains a key aspect of South African agriculture, especially when it comes to livestock, as this industry is the greatest contributor to the sector, accounting for 51% of total production, Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo told agricultural journalists at the National Animal Health Forum (NAHF) and Agricultural Writers South Africa liaison workshop earlier this week. "For export activity to take off, biosecurity is key, considering the recent incidents of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) that resulted in a ban on beef as well as wool exports." 

16.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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What to make of the latest USDA report?

If the US maize crop was at an advanced stage of growth, the latest US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report would have convinced us that the supplies will be in better shape than initially feared. Last week, the agency lifted its estimate for US maize production by 1% from June 2019 to 352 million tonnes. This improvement, coupled with an uptick of the Black Sea's production estimates led to a 1% increase in the 2019/20 global maize production estimate to 1.1 billion tonnes. This would, however, still be 2% less than the 2018/19 harvest. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist

15.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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IFAMA Conference focuses on e-commerce and agri-food value chain transformation

The 2019 IFAMA World Conference was hosted in Hangzhou from 22 to 26 June 2019. The conference focused on e-commerce and agri-food value chain transformation. Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase was invited as panellist in a session on land use tenure, governance and land policies.

12.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Conference puts the spotlight on a better agri trade deal for Africa

The overarching theme of  the 2019 Agribusiness Africa Conference hosted by Farmer's Weekly this week, was market access, and one of the key discussion topics was how to secure a better deal for African countries within the global agricultural trade environment. 

12.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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The agricultural value chain and the climate crisis

The effects of the changing climate, which is, of course, a global challenge, have been felt in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia in the recent past. This has been through erratic rainfalls and more frequent occurrences of droughts and floods. For countries whose economies are largely dependent on agricultural fortunes, the impact of climate change has largely been felt through smaller harvests, poorer grazing conditions for livestock and ultimately food price inflation. However, less discussed but equally important is the impact of climate change on value-chain industries such as agricultural inputs and equipment providers, agricultural financiers, and food processing companies, amongst others. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist *Written for and first published on Daily Maverick

11.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Climate change adds to uncertainty over global maize supplies

Erratic weather conditions and more frequent droughts and floods are exacerbating uncertainty in the agricultural sector. While these have largely been a phenomenon of sub-Saharan Africa and Asian countries, the Americas are also starting to experience these harsh conditions. The hallmark of changing climate in 2019 has been the prolonged excessive wet weather conditions in the US, which led to delayed plantings in a number of areas. By mid-June 2019 there were fears of possible tight global maize supplies, which saw maize prices rally because of slow plantings. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist *Written for and first published in Business Day

10.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Biofuels - a quick win that ticks all the right boxes

The Department of Minerals and Energy published a National Industrial Strategy on biofuel production in South Africa as far back as 2007. Sadly, this strategy received widespread opposition from certain groupings based on a misunderstanding of its potential impact on food security. As such, the strategy has still not been finalised. The biofuels industry has the potential to create in excess of 25 000 jobs and contribute indirectly to land reform, rural development, reduce the negative environmental impact of transport fuel, and reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels. It therefore, ticks the boxes from a social, economic and environmental point of view. With our economy under distress, tough decisions need to be made and it may be time to look critically at the validity of opposing comments in light of empirical data. -Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence

06.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Changes to Amended COGP Gazette 42496

On 31 May 2019 a composite 396-page Government Gazette was published containing dozens of notices and legislative changes from across many different ministries that appears to be an effort to reduce gazetting costs and to dispense with outstanding matters prior to the new cabinet ministers taking over. 

05.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz chief economist ranked amongst Top 200 Young South Africans

Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo was nominated as one of Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans. The names of 200 trailblazing young South Africans was announced at a gala event in Sandton.

05.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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